National Environment Research Council

Crowdsourcing names can sometimes go very, very wrong, but on occasion it can go very, very right. In the case of Britain’s National Environment Research Council, it is so far going brilliantly.

The NERC has asked the public to name its new polar research vessel. The top four contenders include the RRS Henry Worsley, after the recently deceased famous explorer who died attempting a solo crossing of the Antarctic, the RRS David Attenborough, after the famous and beloved TV presenter and naturalist, and RRS Pillar of Autumn, after the Halcyon-class space cruiser from the Halo video games (suggested by someone calling themselves Havelock Vetinari).

Blowing them all out of the water is the RRS Boaty McBoatface, coming in at 24,419 votes at time of writing, compared to the second-most popular, sitting at 2,888 votes.

There’s no competition, really.

National Environment Research Council

The boat, which is yet to be built, will cost some £200 million in government funding (around $290 million), and will, the NERC said, put “the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come.” It’s due to set sail in 2019, and will be put to work conducting research in the Earth’s polar regions, creating 400 jobs and 60 apprenticeships.

It will be able to spend up to 60 days in sea-ice to allow scientists to gather extended observations. It will have a helideck for accessibility, and a fleet of both airborne and underwater surveillance robots.

Other suggestions for the name include the RRS Usain Boat, the RRS Boatimus Prime, the RRS Red Dwarf and the RRS Thanks for All the Fish.

Whether or not we ever see RRS Boaty McBoatface weigh anchor is anyone’s guess. According to the guidelines, the NERC would like the name to “be inspirational and about environmental and polar science, to help us tell everyone about the amazing work the ship does.”

The Council also reserves the right to the final say on the boat’s name. However, if you want to take part, you can cast your vote here.


RRS Boaty McBoatface could be the UK's next polar research vessel – CNET